Date: 7th September 2011 at 7:00pm
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Liverpool centre back Andre Wisdom was given his first cap by Stuart Pearce for England U21s 4-1 victory over Israel, indicating the great strides that the 18 year old is making.

His talent was noticed from a young age and he was taken from local junior football by Bradford City’s youth coach Peter Horne, The defender quickly attracted attention from big Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, and at the age of just 14, the Reds took the youngster into the Academy at Kirkby, after paying compensation to Bradford. Horne said of the player at the time:

“He has just progressed all the time he’s been with us. We’ve played him a year up all the time because of his ability. He was playing with the under-15s this season. We’re very pleased with how far he’s come.”

In the Academy, Wisdom made very quick progress, and he was an important part of Liverpool’s run to the FA Youth Cup final in 2009 at the age of just 15, playing mostly with players 2 years his senior. The feat is a tribute to his maturity as a footballer as well as his evident physical strength.

For a player who was playing in the under 18s while only 15, it shows he was already developed physically to cope with the demands and can cope defending against more experienced opponents. It is a maturity which is demonstrated by the array of abilities he possesses.

With good aerial ability, he heads the ball competently, using his height, physical strength and general athleticism. Combined with this, he has very good pace to keep up with opposition attackers and for such a young player, he also has good communication and leadership skills, and is a very vocal team mate on the pitch. Such communication combines well with good organisation skills, making him astute tactically and to be able to read the game which is the hall mark of any aspiring centre back.